Nesting Again

We painted last weekend!

It’s something we had talked about doing since before we moved into this apartment over a year ago. The walls were dirty and really needed some TLC. (Apartments don’t automatically get painted between tenants here; it’s often up to the renters, not the landlord, to repaint. Actually, more than the walls were gross, but we’ve learned to throw out things like the broken mops, pantyhose, and Guanyin wall hangings that we find in apartments.) It would be much easier, we knew, to paint before we moved our stuff in. But, it seemed like there were just so many reasons that conspired to make painting not happen.

For one thing, trying to organize painting in one province while packing up in another was too much. Once we moved in, we were much busier than we had anticipated and time just flew. Plus our funds were especially tight, making it tough to find money in the budget for paint. Lastly, the landlady had only agreed to a one-year lease and we knew there was a good chance she might not re-new, so it was a gamble to invest in painting.

On top of all of that, there was something else that made me hesitate. There was something in me that did not WANT to put the effort into making this house a home because…


When we initially saw this place, I was already redecorating it. In my mind, I was putting a positive spin on the yellow bathrooms, with grayish tile accents, and the kitchen that features terra cotta tile, mint green cabinets, and cream counters with embedded gold glitter.

IMG_20160818_223857 IMG_20160818_223950

This apartment is 100% ON TREND for the Pantone Spring 2015 collection! It’s already got like half the colors! It will be like living in Fashion Week!


(These are the little lies we tell ourselves.)

But the enthusiasm rapidly drained. The reality is, I am tired of nesting. We have moved more times than I know how to count, and in each place, I’ve had to make an effort to get us settled. In the beginning, it was actually fun; now it’s draining. Emotionally and budget-wise.

Everywhere we live, we know we will not be there for more than a few years, sometimes only six or twelve months. So, there is always a tug between “it’s only a short time, we can live with things being less than ideal” and “even if it’s only our home for a short time, I want it to feel settled and pleasant.”

It’s tough – we have to make these decisions over and over again, and not just for our apartments. Do we invest in relationships even if it’s only for X months? Do we invest in routines, rhythm, and traditions, even if we might not be able to keep them up after this year? Do we get a dog???


(Yes, and we make him pose in hats.)

The answer to those questions is usually yes, even when our hearts are sad at facing those same questions again. After all, “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” And maybe, ’tis better to have painted and moved than never to have painted at all? Tennyson probably decorated no matter how many times he moved.

Yup. So, we decided it was better to make at least a partial effort to settle our home, though we’re not fixing everything that bugs us about this place. We still have a budget to stay within, after all. We painted (yay!) but only the front rooms. The bedrooms will have to just have dingy walls. We decided we’ll live with all the light fixtures as they are: a fun collection of Ugly and Broken. All in all, this apartment has far less craziness than our last place, where the kitchen and bathrooms expressed their feelings much more openly and in more colors, too.

Here, the stuff that bugs us is pretty subdued. I mean, I meant to rip these things down the day we moved in, but now I’ve almost stopped being conscious of the fact that these hooks are cows.


I hang my hair dryer on a cartoon cow, friends.

Well, that’s the good thing about moving so often. It’s only 10 months until I will be rid of the cows and moving into the next nest! And will I invest time into settling that place, too? I hope my answer will be yes.

The theme this week at Velvet Ashes is “Nest.” Does the thought of nesting again make you feel excited? Or worn out? 


Get my next post sent right to you.

Why It’s So Hard to Answer the Question, “How Many Times Have You Moved?”

Let’s Play Overseas Mom Guilt Bingo!

7 Crazy Quirks That Make Our Apartment…Special